Challenges of Leadership: Political Animosity in 2023 General Elections

Nigeria is the most populous Black African nation and is thus the Black race’s spiritual as well as geographic homeland. In the same vain, South Africa shared with Nigeria a number of similarities and has evolved from being governed by the most tyrannical and racist system into an ideal model of democratic equity.

At the same time, while Nigeria’s enormous wealth of resources, both human and natural, has always given the impression that the nation is poised for an economic take-off, South Africa’s advanced manufacturing and infrastructural endowment has ensured that it can provide economic benefits for some of its people that are well ahead of the normal expectations of most African nations.

Ironically, leadership does not depend on age. As such, I understand the fact that we want young, innovative minds, but, at the same time, we have to look at competence. Fidel Castro was a wonderful leader; he was also very old, yet he outperformed some younger folks. So if it is that we are looking at competence and plans that an over 70-year-old leader is putting forward versus a 44-year-old, we have to look at whose plan is better.

Fidel Castro, was a very courageous, dedicated, intelligent kind of leader — an excellent fighter, a man willing to risk his life for his ideas. Interestingly enough in our society today, several young people across the nation have strongly dismissed assertions that the age of a political leader will influence their decision to take part in the democratic process.

So, therefore, I personally believe that older politicians have more experience and more knowledge of how this world works. They make much wiser decisions and above all, people tend to trust them instead of preferring a new, young politician. Though young politicians would understand the current generation better but I think that age doesn’t matter in any profession.

If someone is good in what they do, then people do not see their age. Joe Biden is the oldest President in America and he is still active with millions of supporters – so, age is just a number and I don’t think that age is a barrier. Therefore it is not the age that is the barrier but the ingenuity or otherwise of the leader is the issues.

“Without democracy there cannot be peace.” – Nelson Mandela, South Africa, May 9, 1992. The Mandela music should keep playing in our sub-consciousness as we remember and say thank you to Tata Madiba. Although Madela joined the party very late, turned on the music, gave us the characteristic Mandela moves and left with a bang.

As a matter of fact, he joined the party quite late: 44 years after the first democratic election in Africa in Liberia in 1950, after 27 years of imprisonment. Nelson Mandela at the age of 75 became the first Black president of post-apartheid South Africa. Madiba will ever be remembered, he was a symbol of grace and unity. He served only one eventful term and quit the stage symbolically. The uncommon gesture sets the stage for a greater democratic South Africa and perfected the healing from the previous maladministration.

Although political pundits believes that the Mandela Option was a deep political game orchestrated from the midpoint of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s first term, supposedly by loyalists of his deputy, Atiku Abubakar, aimed at persuading Obasanjo to serve one term just as Mandela did in South Africa.

However, the truth is that desirability of the Madela’s option would have saved us the many unconscionable actions and troubles that we are currently experiencing as a nation in distress. The tension and fault-lines would have been a thing of the past and the trust deficits resulting in threat to peaceful coexistence that is threatening our togetherness and ‘Nigerianess’ may have vanished long ago. Therefore, it has become imperative that we revisit the same “Madela’s option”.

Flowing from the foregoing, this article focuses on the challenges of leadership in Nigeria from the prisms of tribe and partisanship – Nigeria can only be great again if and when we are ready for a TRANSFORMATIONAL leader in the mood of Nehemiah who saw the need for personal sacrifice and commitment to rebuild the ruins of Jerusalem.

A leader devoid of personal aggrandisement and selfless to the core; a leader with the mindset and attributes of Nelson Mandela – it is only then that a new dawn of our dreams will become possible. Sadly, rising political polarisation in recent decades has hampered and gridlocked policymaking, as well as weakened trust in democratic institutions.

These developments have been linked to the idea that new media technology fosters extreme views and political conflict by facilitating self-segregation into “echo chambers” where opinions are isolated and reinforced.

This opinion-centered picture has recently been challenged by an emerging political science literature on “affective polarisation”, which suggests that current polarisation is better understood as driven by partisanship emerging as a strong social identity. Today, the activities of our citizens, particularly the youths on the new media is not different from the pre-war situation between 1965 and 1967.

Sadly, through this lens of ethnicity and religion which is rooted in the restiveness among our youths and promoted by overzealousness, we have arrived at the opposite side of where we should have been. Therefore, it is time to begin the process of healing and rapprochement with a mindset of positivity; expecting that the ideals of June 12 where Nigerians set aside primordial dwarfism and elect the candidate of the then SDP Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, MKO, regardless of tribe and religion is replicated with the same can-do spirit filled with nationalistic outlook and unquestionable commitments.

We can do it again! The uncommon spirit “CAN-DO” is alive. Nigeria has all it takes for greatness and become a global giant not the current unpleasant situations rooted in crises the “sleeping giant”. ARISE ‘O COMPATRIOTS! History is replete…. that’s where I differ by a striking shot with the religionists and dogmatists. Therefore, let men of goodwill stand to be counted; let us rebuild our nation. Nigeria can be great again. “Though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand”. Interestingly, facts of history support whosoever shall see the “Madela’s option” as the must suitable for a nation in distress like Nigeria.

Conclusively, I like to use the words of Peggy Noonan, an opinion columnist at the Wall Street Journal where her column, “Declarations,” has run since 2000. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 2017.  A political analyst for NBC News, she is the author of nine books on American politics, history and culture, from her most recent, The Time of Our Lives, to her first, What I Saw at the Revolution.

She is one of ten historians and writers who contributed essays on the American presidency for the book, Character Above All. Noonan was a special assistant and speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan. Peggy posited: “We must try again to be alive to what the people of our country really long for in our national life: forgiveness and grace, maturity and wisdom. …Our political leaders will know our priorities only if we tell them, again and again, and if those priorities begin to show up in the polls.”

Finally, to those who desperately want a well systematic functioning society without knowing how to go about it. This is the way to go: we need to identify a true nationalist – a barrier breaker with sound mind. A mind that functions and work like that of MKO’s “Reparation Bold Move”; a Jerry Rawlings, JJR, who restored and repositioned Ghana; a replica of Nkrumah the protagonist of Pan-Africanism, Nwalimu and Thomas Sankara. It is not by mob actions/gangsterism; not by emotion and sentiments; not by spreading falsehood and hatred. Not by desperation of any kind. Put simply: it is by commitment, collective responsibility, togetherness, our ‘Nigerianess’ and commonsensical.

Nigeria will rise again! our beloved country will be great again!!




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